Bill and Jan Haueisens’ Capital story is one of love – for each other, for their family and for the university.
After all, nine generations of Jan’s family and five generations of Bill’s family attended Capital over the years since its founding and one of Jan’s ancestors was among the original founders.
“When I first started going to Capital, I didn’t know anything about Capital’s history,” Jan (’67) says. She now has an understandable and undeniable amount of pride for her family’s legacy. “There’s a lot of Capital in us.”
Bill (’66) had originally intended to pursue an engineering degree at The Ohio State University. That is until one Sunday morning when Capital University freshman Jan drove her Aunt Dorothy to St. Mark’s where the Haueisen family attended church. “And, I swept her off her feet,” Bill says, adding that he enrolled in Capital sometime thereafter where he earned his bachelor of arts degree in natural sciences.
The Haueisens’ ties also extend to Trinity Lutheran Seminary where Bill (S’70) along with Jan’s father, grandfather, great-grandfather and two brothers earned degrees. Inside the seminary, there’s a photo of Jan’s great-great-grandfather, Richard Charles Henry Lenski, who was a professor and dean there in the early 1900s. (Lenski’s daughter Lois was a noted author and would go on to win the Newberry Medal for her book “Strawberry Girl.”)
Upon graduating with a master’s degree from the seminary, Bill took a job as director of the Campus Center at Capital, where among other assignments he organized a royal reception for the reigning Miss America – Laurel Lea Schaefer of Bexley. He also holds two master’s degrees and a PhD from OSU.
Jan, who has since earned two master’s degrees from OSU and the University of South Florida, worked as a reading teacher before Bill’s career took the couple to Washington, D.C., where he was the director of communications for the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association.
“Bill had so many talents that he didn’t know where to use them all,” Jan says.
He soon found his niche and following several teaching and research positions, Bill and Jan decided to start their own company, Sterling Research Group in 1987, which they owned for 30 years.
“We have been really blessed to have had the right business at the right time doing the right thing,” Bill says.
The couple’s great success has led them to recognize the value of giving back. “From the beginning, philanthropy has been important to us,” Bill says. “Capital has always been important. Some of our biggest dollars have gone and will go to Capital.”
In honor of the In Radiant Splendor Shine campaign, the Haueisens have pledged a lead gift of $2.25 million to be used to upgrade the Mees Hall stage. The gift seemed like a natural for the Haueisens. Former Capital President Otto Mees was the one who convinced Jan’s mother to attend Cap’s Conservatory of Music.
This is not the first time the Haueisens have honored their families and their alma mater. They established the Haueisen Distinguished Chair in Chemistry in recognition of Bill’s parents, William Frank (‘38) and Martha Meyerholtz Haueisen, and the Ferne Visiting Artist Fund in memory of Jan’s parents, the Rev. Gerald (’34, S’37) and Vivian Wagner Ferne (’39).
“The ‘CapFam’ expression is not an accident,” says Bill, who has served as the chair of Capital’s Board of Trustees – both Jan and Bill have served on Capital’s Board of Trustees for a total of 20 years. “It’s probably one of the most sincere expressions of what makes everything so special. It really says a lot.”
Adds Jan, “That kind of environment doesn’t exist everywhere. We must make sure it continues.”
The Haueisens, who were jointly named Alumni Distinguished Service Award winners in 2001, reside in St. Petersburg, Florida, and have a daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in Boston.